Not to suggest that Minnesota is not the most interesting place in the world...
They've signed Jamey Carroll for 2 years and $7 million.
The Dodger's were panned when they signed Carroll for 2 years and $3.8 million. Now he's making twice that per year.
He certainly helped himself with his play in LA. Prior to coming to LA Carroll averaged 1.8 fWAR per 500 plate appearances. In his 2 years in LA he averaged 2.4 fWAR per 500 plate appearances. The increase was mostly with the bat. Prior to LA Carroll offense as measured by wRC+ was 15% less than the league average. With LA he hit 5% better than the league average. Colletti certainly got his money's worth. Will new Twins' GM Terry Ryan get the same return?
It's hard to predict a player playing his age 38 and 39 seasons will improve upon what he's done. It's hard to say that that player will remain the same.
Let's assume that Carroll's offense will hold constant. He didn't have any crazy BABIPs. He hit line drives. He took walks. He made contact. No out of control power numbers. In fact, Carroll's 2010 and 2011 numbers are pretty similar to his career numbers. Is increase relative to the league, is because the league average decreased. I think this makes it more likely that Carroll keeps on chugging along.
Defense may be a different story. Apparently, Carroll will be the Twins' starting SS.
Carroll was signed to be a backup IFer with LA. He ended up playing more than was likely expected since Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, and Juan Uribe couldn't stay healthy. Carroll played: 770 innings at 2B, 73 innings at 3rd and 1080 innings at SS. That's not a lot of innings but:
2010 2B: UZR/150 = 11.4
2010 SS: UZR/150 = 4
2011 2B: UZR/150 = -8
2011 SS: UZR/150 = -6
A weighted average gives us -2 UZR/150 at 2B and -1 UZR/150 at SS.
That both went from positive to negative is a concern.
According to Tom Tango's Fan Scouting Report
In 2011 Carroll rated 3.34 on a scale of 1 - 5
In 2010 Carroll rated 3.45 on a scale of 1 - 5
Not much difference there.
Hard to draw too many conclusions about his defense.
On to the chart...
If Carroll gets 500 PA's I expect him to be worth about 2 fWAR. He put up 2.2 fWAR in 510 PA's last year. He seems to be able to defy aging, so instead of the .5 WAR dropoff I'm taking .25 WAR off in 2013. Assuming $5.25 million per WAR and 5% inflation, we get the following:
*Click to make bigger
The Twins can expect $13 million of surplus value from Carroll. That's a lot of leeway. Carroll would only need to put up 1.3 WAR this year to earn the money for both years of his contract (1.3*5.25=7). So there's not much risk for the Twins.
Even if Carroll falls apart he sure to be an upgrade over what happened last year. Twins shortstops (Trevor Plouffe, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Matt Tolbert, and Alexi Casilla) combined to hit .238/.292/.320 and produce -1.4 WAR (prorated by innings at SS).
Carroll hit .290/.368/.344 for reference. Spending $3.5 million this year for a 3.5 WAR improvement is pretty efficient use of resources. We won't talk about the $3 million they are paying Nishioka.
Carroll is certainly a better player than Juan Rivera and Rod Barajas. 2011 Dodgers who both signed for 2 years and $8 million this week.
It'll be interesting to see how the market for guys like Clint Barmes and Jerry Hairston pans out.